Overview & Highlights:
- Visit Casablanca and Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa.
- Visit the Portuguese city, the old fortress within walls in El
- Explore Marrakech with professional guide.
- Cross the high Atlas Mountains and Tizi-N-Tichka pass (2260m of Altitude).
- Discover Aït Ben Haddou Ksar; UNESCO world heritage site.
- Visit Ouarzazate city, the gate of the Sahara desert and the Hollywood of Africa.
- Explore the Sahara Desert with an SUV excursion.
- Experience camel trekking in the Sahara desert.
- Enjoy a luxurious drive along Ziz valley, the largest valley in morocco.
- Visit the wild monkeys in the cedar forest.
- See Moroccan Switzerland, the beautiful city of Ifrane.
- Explore the ancient medina of Fes with a private guide.
- Explore Rabat; Hassan Tower, Mohammed V Mausoleum and Oudayas Kasbah.
Day 1: Arrival – Casablanca.
Upon arrival, we will meet you at the airport and head to your accommodation in Casablanca. There you will take time to relax and recover from your journey.
Overnight in Casablanca.
Day 2: Casablanca – El Jadida – Marrakech.
After breakfast you will check out of your hotel and start your journey with a visit to the stunning Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Africa and the third largest mosque in the world that non-Muslims are allowed to enter. Able to accommodate up to 105,000 people in prayer, this marvel of modern Moroccan architecture is the work of hundreds of expert craftsmen from around the country, many of them donating their work.
Then we drive along the Cornish where you can have also walk, at its end there is Morocco Mall, the largest shopping center in Africa which was opened in December 2011, with an impressive marine aquarium that extends through all floors and presents forty fish species.
Then drive to El Jadida to visit the Portuguese city, the old fortress within walls, that at the turn of the millennium, everything was ruins but since UNESCO took over the medina it has been restored to its former glory. Through the large gate you will enter the fortress, in the main street there is the Catholic Church which is now converted to a theater, and there is also the entrance to the cistern which is definitely worth a visit.
Then walk to the port gate, get into the ramparts and in 20 min you can take a tour around the hole fortress. The colorful history of El Jadida became clear especially when you see a church, a synagogue and a mosque at a glance from the north bastion. In the late afternoon drive to the east toward Marrakech, where you will spend the night.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 3: Marrakech sightseeing.
Today, after breakfast you will start your Marrakech tour with a private guide. You will begin with a visit to the Koutoubia minaret, the tallest in Marrakech. Within the city walls, no building is allowed to be taller than the Koutoubia. The minaret is part of the largest mosque in Marrakech, which was completed in 1199.
Then tour the Bahia Palace, a late 19th-century palace built for the grand vizier and named for his favorite wife. The rooms, set in a 2-acre garden, include the rooms which housed his harem, an often political position. From there you will have walk to explore Jemaa el Fna, the primary square in the medina and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Though now filled with street performers, snake charmers, merchants, and orange juice stalls, when it was created in 1050, it was used for public executions, perhaps leading to its name which can be translated as “assembly of death”.
Head into the souks surrounding Jemaa el Fna and make stop at a Berber Apothecary shop, learning of the medicinal uses of many of the common spices and herbs that are still used across Morocco to treat common illnesses. While it’s not as picturesque as the heaps of spices you find in the market, it is far more informative. Then visit the several workshops including shoemakers and bakers. In the afternoon you will enjoy a traditional lunch in the square before going back to your accommodation.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 4: Marrakech – Aït Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate – Boumalne Dades.
Our journey starts in the morning after breakfast, leaving Marrakech toward Boumalne Dades. We will drive through the high Atlas Mountains where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Berber villages along the way, to the highest point (Tichka pass) that the road can reach with an altitude of 2260m, offering you stunning landscapes as far as the eye can admire.
Continue through the breathtaking landscapes to Aït Ben Haddou, the UNESCO world heritage site since 1987, this little old town located in the former route of the caravan trade between the Sahara desert and Marrakech, the Ksar is now often used as a filming location for movies such as The Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. Here you will be able to have walk and stroll in the Ksar and its Kasbahs where you will see the amazing traditional Berber architecture of the houses. Then Stop for lunch in a local restaurant with a panoramic terrace in the newer part of Aït-Ben-Haddou.
Leaving the Ksar to the east to visit the old desert town of Ouarzazate, the gate of the Sahara desert and also called Hollywood of Africa, where you will have chance to visit the Atlas studio, the largest film studio in Morocco, where many films such as Game of thrones, Ben Hur and Cleopatra have been filmed. And a visit to the famous Kasbah of Taourirt in Ouarzazate city center is worth.
Drive through the road of thousand Kasbahs toward Boumalne Dades we will make a stop in Kalaat M’Gouna, small beautiful town lies on the rose valley, which is famous for its rose cooperatives, where thousands of pounds of rose petals are harvested each year to be distilled into rose water and rose oil for use in cosmetics. From there you will enjoy scenic views of the lush Dades valley along the way toward Dades gorges. In the evening you will arrive to your hotel/Riad in Boumalne Dades where you will be welcomed by a cup of mint tea, and then enjoy traditional Moroccan dinner.
Overnight in Boumalne Dades.
Day 5: Dades valley – Todra gores – Tinjdad – Rissani – Merzouga Desert.
In the morning and after breakfast we will start our journey toward Erg-chebbi desert. We will drive to Tinghir, where an impressive road takes you high above the palm oasis along the mountain into the stunning Todra gorges, the narrowest gorges in morocco, carved from the red rocks of the landscape by a river.
There you will have the opportunity to walk in the famous canyon to experience the rocky world. Then drive out the gorges enjoying the panoramic views along the Todra valley toward Tinjdad where you will enjoy your lunch. From there the road takes you through the Saharan regions and nomadic land, where you will be able to see goat herds and black nomadic tents.
Then pass by the village of Jorf, where you will be amazed by the style of the women covered in deep black, which is an Arabic tribe that is settled here. Then we will head down to Erfoud city, known by its palm trees plantations and fossils expositions. On the way to desert and after short drive from Erfoud, we will make quick stop to see the old town of Rissani to explore its local market, which is much more local-oriented than that of Marrakech. You will find blacksmiths and woodworkers, mountains of olives and spices, and everything from house wares to electronics.
There you can also visit the mausoleum of Moulay Ali-Cherif, the final resting place of the current king’s great grandfather and the founder of the current dynasty. The intricate decor on the entrance gate is reminiscent of the Bab Mansour in Meknes, while the interior courtyard has many flowers and date trees. In the evening we will eventually arrive to the Sahara desert, one of the best places you may ever seen, which makes it one of Morocco’s best highlights. Then check into your hotel on the edge of Erg-chebbi golden dunes.
Overnight in Merzouga.
Day 6: Sahara Desert – Nomadic families – Gnawa village – camel trekking.
In the morning embark on an SUV for an adventure through the Sahara. Our excursion starts with a visit to Hassi labied village and its lush oasis, with palm trees, almonds and olives, which is being watered by an incredible irrigation system for ages and learn about this well-organized system.
Then we will speed through the golden Erg-chebbi dunes, enjoying the panoramic views and taking beautiful pictures. In the middle of Sahara we will make stop for tea with a nomadic family in a tent, their winter home, and see the nomads herd sheep and goats. After quiet stay with nomads, we will drive and hunt for fossils of aquatic critters in the desert.
Because the Sahara was once an ocean 7 million years ago, and there are countless fossils remaining. Next we will visit the Khamlia village, lived by a dark skin people coming from the South African countries from the time their ancestors were brought to the area as slaves. Stop in Dar Gnawa and listen to their entrancing music.
The rhythmic, hypnotic music has long been part of their ceremonies, and has influenced an entire genre that is performed all across Morocco and has even inspired several music festivals. And then you will enjoy lunch with a local family at their home. In the late afternoon meet your camels for trek into your desert camp, on the way you will enjoy an amazing sunset in the desert before getting to the camp where you will take some time to relax before enjoying a delicious dinner and live Berber music around camp fire under an incredible sky with billions of chining stars.
Overnight in the Sahara desert.
Day 7: Merzouga – Ziz valley – Atlas Mountains – Midlet – Zaida – Ifrane – Fes.
This morning it is recommended to wake up early if you would like to watch a wonderful sunrise over the dunes, and then take time for a hot shower and traditional Berber breakfast in the camp. After you will ride back your camels to the village or maybe embark on an SUV if one camel is enough.
From there we will start our journey leaving the Sahara desert taking the way to Fes, as we come to pass Erfoud, you will enjoy the drive along the luxurious way on the edge of the Ziz valley, the largest valley in morocco. At the top end of the valley we will make a short break where you will enjoy the panoramic view of that contiguous date palm oasis.
Then we continue the way and pass by Errachidia, the capital city of that region lies on the edge of the high atlas, offering stunning views of the mountains covered by the snow almost the whole year, and the Berber villages in the plateau between the two atlases. In Zaida we will make stop for lunch, enjoying fresh barbecue in one of the many street side restaurants.
After quiet stay we will drive through the middle atlas enjoying the way with sheep herds, donkeys and dogs owned by the Berber people of the area, until getting to the cedar forest, the largest in morocco, where you will always find the wild monkeys but they are used to humans and they are happy to be fed, and surprisingly well mannered.
Leaving the forest we will make a coffee stop in Ifrane, a small ski resort town that is also known as the Moroccan Swiss village due to its alpine-style architecture. Here you will see yourself transferred to Europe at short notice, in fact here live Austrians, French and wealthy Moroccans, and it’s the most expensive soil in Morocco apart from the big cities. We will arrive in Fes in the late evening.
Overnight in Fes.
Day 8: Fes sightseeing.
After breakfast in your Riad/Hotel, you will meet your private local guide to explore the different sights of the ancient Medina of Fes. Begin your tour with a visit to the royal palace, with its seven golden doors, and learn about the significance of the intricate decor.
Continue and stroll through the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, which was built next to the palace to offer protection. And then take in the view of the city from Borj Sud, a former fortress and one of the lookouts on a hill where you can see all of Fes laid out, allowing you to spot landmarks otherwise hidden by the skyline-obscuring buildings.
Visit a pottery cooperative to see how they make the unique Fes pottery, as well as handcrafting the intricate mosaics adorning half of Morocco. Head into the ancient medina and step into a sort of living museum. The Fes medina is very much a local community that lives and works and goes about daily life in the medina.
Stop by the Al-Quaraouiyine University, the oldest degree-granting university still in operation, have been founded in 859CE by a woman. Visit handicraft workshops, where you will see why Fes is considered the handicraft capital of Morocco.
This can include, among other things, the silk weavers, where beautifully colorful fabrics are woven from silk fibers of the agave plant, and the famous Fes tannery, where they process all manner of animal hides by hand, much as they have for nearly 1000 years. During your tour of the medina, you will stop for lunch in a restaurant that would be very easy to walk right past, but is truly a hidden gem. In the late afternoon you will get back to your accommodation.
Overnight in Fes.
Day 9: Fes – Rabat.
Today you will live Fes and make the journey toward Rabat, Morocco’s fourth imperial city, where you will visit the Hassan Tower, which has sat unfinished since 1199. Commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaaqub al-Mansur, the tower was to be the minaret for the largest mosque in the world.
Unfortunately, when the sultan passed away in 1199, the project was abandoned, leaving some partial outer walls, 348 columns, and a minaret only standing half-finished at 140 feet rather than the intended 260 feet. Standing opposite the Hassan Tower is the Mohammed V Mausoleum, which contains the tombs of Mohammed V, the current king’s grandfather, as well as the king’s father, Hassan II, and his uncle, Prince Abdullah. It is considered a masterpiece of Alaouite architecture with its white walls and green tiled roof.
Visit also the Kasbah of the Oudayas, which is a small fortified town area of the city, with white and blue houses, a nice Moorish garden and a breath taking view of the opposite city Sale and the Atlantic Ocean. In the evening drive to your accommodation in Rabat.
Overnight in Rabat.
Day 10: Rabat – Departure.
In the morning, after breakfast check out of your hotel and transfer to Casablanca airport for your departure flight.